If you read this blog regularly, you know we’ve spent some time studying the correlation between a team’s total draftees active in the league (on their own roster or otherwise) and its year-to-year success. With the season about two-thirds done, let’s review the totals and try to match draft success with won-loss records.
We’ll analyze the teams in the top third, the middle third, and the bottom third.
Top third: 49ers (59); Packers (57); Steelers (52); Ravens, Bengals and Eagles (50); Vikings and Seahawks (49); and Chiefs (48).
Analysis: The Seahawks and Packers (who share a draft methodology, by the way) are known throughout the league for finding solid players throughout the draft and gems in the latter rounds, and that has been reflected in both teams’ consistent play over the last decade. The big surprise is that the Niners lead the league in this category, suggesting that though the team may move on from head coach Jim Tomsula after the season, GM Trent Baalke and his staff should remain safe. For what that’s worth. Meanwhile, the Vikings have obviously been taking care of business on draft day, and the emergence of Paul Zimmer as head coach, plus the return of A.P., have allowed the team to put it all together.
Middle third: Cardinals, Cowboys, Broncos, Texans and Titans (47); Bills and Patriots (46); Dolphins (45); and Panthers, Browns, Jets, Raiders and Rams (44).
Analysis: I’ve spoken to teams that have decried the Patriots’ drafts, though the team remains a constant Super Bowl contender; this probably shows the huge impact a top-flight QB can make on a team (and why teams are constantly chasing prospects at the position). Similarly, Cam Newton (and Luke Kuechly) have taken the Panthers upon their backs despite the team’s lack of talent on offense.
Bottom third: Lions (43); Saints and Chargers (40); Falcons (39); Bears and Jaguars (38); Bucs (37); Colts (35); Redskins (33); and Giants (30).
Analysis: The Lions made a change at GM (and made the surprising admission that the team hadn’t worked hard enough in evaluation) already this season. The Bears and Redskins made a change at GM before this season, and the Bucs before the ’14 season. Meanwhile, the Falcons stripped personnel responsibilities from GM Thomas Dimitroff before this season. The Jags’ David Caldwell and Colts’ Tom Telesco are in Year 3, and Colts’ Ryan Grigson is in Year 4. Saints GM Mickey Loomis and Giants GM Jerry Reese have both been at their posts for a comparable eternity. It will be interesting to see if any of these teams make changes at the end of the month.